Deogratias, A Tale of Rwanda (Paperback)
The 2000 winner of the Goscinny Prize for outstanding graphic novel script, this is the harrowing tale of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, as seen through the eyes of a boy named Deogratias. He is an ordinary teenager, in love with a girl named Bénigne, but Deogratias is a Hutu and Bénigne is a Tutsi who dies in the genocide, and Deogratias himself plays a part in her death. As the story circles around but never depicts the terror and brutality of an entire country descending into violence, we watch Deogratias in his pursuit of Bénigne, and we see his grief and descent into madness following her death, as he comes to believe he is a dog.
Told with great artistry and intelligence, this book offers a window into a dark chapter of recent human history and exposes the West's role in the tragedy. Stassen's interweaving of the aftermath of the genocide and the events leading up to it heightens the impact of the horror, giving powerful expression to the unspeakable, indescribable experience of ordinary Hutus caught up in the violence. Difficult, beautiful, honest, and heartbreaking, this is a major work by a masterful artist.
About the Author
J.P. Stassen was born and raised in Belgium. His books have been published in multiple languages, and his remarkable artistry has won him many awards. Some of his works are imbued with the places he lived, such as the Goscinny winner Deogratias, and Tangiers in The Old Frenchman's Bar. After living in various places including Latin America, Mozambique, and Rwanda, he settled in Paris, where he lives today.
“This book vividly shows the power of fiction to introduce fact.” —Booklist
“Stassen is a journalist who lives in Rwanda, and his art is bold and clear, using different color palettes to seamlessly shift between before and after.” —Publishers Weekly
“This is one of the most intense, gripping graphic novels to date; libraries with other factually themed titles, such as those by Joe Sacco, Marjane Satrapi, and Art Spiegelman, should purchase it. A masterful work with vibrant, confident art, this book will stay with and haunt its readers.” —School Library Journal
“Deogratias is less graphic than might be expected from its subject matter, but it doesn't pull any punches... The full-color art can be both brutal and beautiful, and is extremely effective.” —KLIATT
“Not so much a memoir as a valuable historical document, Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda, written and illustrated by Stassen, provides a beautiful but harrowing reading experience.” —BookPage
“Deogratias is worth a look, especially for readers who wonder about the literary value of graphic novels.” —Michigan Reading Journal
“...the importance of the story and the heartbreaking beauty of its presentation make it an essential purchase.” —Kirkus, starred review